Also on Tuesday, five police officers lost their lives when their vehicle touched off an improvised explosive device in the Dawlat Abad district of the northern Balkh Province.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter. The so-called insider attacks incidents when an Afghan soldier or policeman turns his gun on fellow troops have been a serious problem in recent years.
The rift among the Taliban ranks over the new leadership was created after the death of Mullah Omar was confirmed in July, though Mullah Akhtar Mansour eventually came out as the new group leader buy yet leadership crises continued. Mullah Omar was the type of leader who relied on his personal authority to smooth over the tribal and regional divisions which could otherwise fracture the movement and reduce its effectiveness on the battlefield.
Mansour in his own statement also raised the possibility of resurrecting peace talks with the Afghan government, but warned others not to get involved.
“We and our people remained silent for two months and wanted the Ulema Council to peacefully resolve our differences, but Mullah Mansoor has told the Ulema Council he would not accept our demands”, Mullah Manan Niazi, the anti-Mansour coalition spokesman, told NBC News.
“The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) believes if the country is not under occupation, the problem of the Afghans can be resolved through intra-Afghan understanding”, Mansour said in the message posted in English on the Taliban’s website.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the USA now have a combined force of about 13,000 in Afghanistan, mostly engaged in training and support following the end of the combat mission past year.
The council called on all Taliban to be patient and clam and wait for a decision of the ulema council and continue their campaign against foreign troops in Afghanistan.
In his first Eid message after being appointed as chief of the militant group, Mansoor said that there could not be any dialogue as long as Afghanistan remains “under occupation” adding that “foreign pressure” for negotiations will also fail, slighting fledgling peace talks.
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